February 22nd, 2023.

The Environment Agency is starting another phase of shingle recycling on the 4-kilometre shingle beach between east Newhaven and Seaford Head.

Twice a year, up to 60,000 cubic metres of shingle, the equivalent of 25 olympic-sized swimming pools, is moved back to the centre of the beach. This is done to give the community the level of flood protection it needs.

Seaford beach is exposed to south-westerly winds and some of the most powerful waves in Sussex. The shingle beach and a buried sea wall better-protects 459 properties in east Newhaven and Seaford from coastal flooding.

The concrete sea wall along Seaford beach helps to manage the risk of flooding during high tides and storms. The wall is protected by the shingle beach and along the western side, it’s reinforced by a layer of granite boulders.

Russell Long, a flood and coastal risk manager at the Environment Agency, said: "Over the winter months, natural coastal processes have moved the shingle away from the central section of the beach. The Environment Agency will evenly redistribute the shingle back to the centre of the beach to maintain flood protection and minimise shingle loss from the beach.

"As we enter the spring, it’s essential that the shingle beach is maintained to reduce the impact of high tides and storms on the homes and businesses in east Newhaven and Seaford.

"Whilst the work is happening, the beach will be open. We’re asking members of the public keep a distance from any machinery."

This regular maintenance work has been identified as the most cost-effective way to protect the sea front. Shingle is loaded into lorries by an excavator and then carried to where it’s needed. Bulldozers position the shingle into the beach profile.

Sea levels are projected to rise by over one metre in the south of England over this century, and with more frequent powerful storms also predicted, the risk of increased coastal erosion and flooding is likely.

Residents living in a flood-risk area are urged to check their flood risk, sign-up for free flood warnings and keep up to date with the latest situation at, call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or follow @EnvAgencySE on Twitter for the latest flood updates.

The work will take approximately 6 weeks to complete. It started on February the 20th and will finish on March the 31st, although this is subject to change if further storm damage is sustained.

Between 2015 and 2021, the Environment Agency invested more than £1.2 billion as part of a £2.6bn programme to better-protect 170,000 properties from coastal flooding. This included funding of £318.2m for 190 schemes led by coastal protection authorities.
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